After a brief prologue showing a group of escaped prisoners being poisoned by strange fireworks, we cut back to Jim Gordon and Bruce, desperate to find Alfred. This proves to be the foundation for this episode’s main drama and from here, the episode explodes into life.
Barbara continues to stir up trouble, asking for Lee personally to be her doctor for Jim’s baby. Lee obviously is none too happy with this arrangement and promptly declines. After kicking the hornet’s nest and letting this weird love triangle drama fester, we turn our attention to the main plot line of the episode.
Bruce goes on the hunt for Alfred but walks right into Jeremiah’s trap. Intent on recreating the murder of Bruce’s Mum and Dad, Jeremiah’s twisted and maniacal mind springs forth a psychological trip for Bruce to take. All of this made worse by the hypnotizing powers of Mad Hatter who’s lent a hand to proceedings. As Bruce begins reliving the darkest day of his life, Jeremiah continues to manipulate him in the hope of getting closer to the destined Dark Knight.
In true Gotham fashion there’s a larger plan at work here involving Ace Chemicals and a poisoned cloud that’ll stop the government from even thinking about helping the inhabitants of Gotham. This then falls to Jim Gordon to intervene, with a little help from Lee. All of this culminates in two climactic showdowns – one involving Mad Hatter and the other Jeremiah.
While these two stories dominate the bulk of run time here, we do get an interesting alliance beginning to form between the three most notorious crime bosses this season. Penguin, Barbara and Riddler all want out of Gotham and Ed may have just come up with the perfect plan to get them there. Of course, we’ll have to wait and see whether this plan comes into fruition going forward but for now, this episode certainly turns the heat up an otherwise good, but largely unremarkable season.
Now, I’ll be the first to admit here I really didn’t like Jeremiah as The Joker. I thought Jerome pulled off the maniacal laughs and unpredictability much better but Jeremiah really comes into his own this episode. The mannerisms and diabolical plan with multiple layers all feel very Joker-ish combined with a real conviction to the character now that makes him a viable threat throughout the episode. Given the way this one ends, some may doubt whether he’ll show back up in Gotham again but I think it’s safe to say it’s not the last we’ve seen of him.
The seventh episode of Gotham’s fifth season is easily the best this year thus far. It’s exciting, chock full of action and gives us a real glimpse into the future for our villains and heroes of the Batman universe. The episode really felt like something out of Batman too and it’s great to see the show finally living up to these expectations. While I still think the second season was the peak of Gotham, Ace Chemicals is a very strong episode and easily one of the best for quite some time.
Expect A Full Season Write Up When This Season Concludes!